How much do you work with undergrads on research/writing strategies? How do you do it?
It's that time of the semester when we're all dashing to the finish. We have five more weeks here.
In my Intro to Lit course, students turn in their critical essay next week. I held open office hours last week, before leaving for SAA, and got some students, but this week I've had bunches. So I'm in on a non-teaching day, holding office hours, hoping to help some more.
In my senior seminar, I've been trying to be more proactive about the seminar paper stuff. Just after break, I took a class session and we did a bunch of freewriting and other brainstorming activities about paper ideas. Then students turned in a basic paper idea, and I responded to that.
In our meeting before I went to SAA, I spent time talking about strategies for writing a good paper, figuring out what to say, using research, and so on. And while I was gone, I set them to get started, with the suggestion that rereading was a good start.
They seemed to appreciate talking about strategies. I hope they weren't just BSing.
Yesterday, we spend time talking about what they'd accomplished, where they were stuck, and tried to help each person with some suggestions. I also told them about my Kalamazoo paper, and that I'd be working on a paper along with them.
My plan going forward is to spend some time each week talking about progress and problems, and trying to help solve the problems.
And yes, I need to work on my Kalamazoo paper, too!
Here's wishing us all good work!